Dem Candidates Must Respond to the DOE’s New & Nightmarish Petrochemical Plan to Destroy Appalachia

July 26, 2019

For Immediate Release: Friday, July 26, 2019
Contact: Jackie Filson, [email protected], 202-683-2538

Dem Candidates Must Respond to the DOE’s New & Nightmarish Petrochemical Plan to Destroy Appalachia

Washington, DC – The Department of Energy (DOE) just gave testimony urging the prioritization of petrochemical buildouts in Appalachia, including tapping “wet” gas reserves in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Together, these three states are now predicted to be the third-largest natural gas producer in the world.

On June 19, the House of Representatives passed an amendment filed by Reps Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) stating that funds used by the DOE clean energy program cannot be used to support any projects that do not decrease greenhouse gas emissions. As this amendment moves towards the Senate, the presidential candidates who are also US Senators and want to tout environmental agendas, have an obligation to announce support for this amendment and opposition to projects like the Appalachia buildout.

In response, Food & Water Action Executive Director Wenonah Hauter released the following statement:

“The West Virginia legislature and US energy officials are hoping to increase production of petrochemicals, right when we need to be stopping it. The DOE’s negligence towards the people of Appalachia and the environment is now more blatant and repulsive than ever before. As they urge national investment in a ‘petrochemical Renaissance’ what they’re really calling for is the destruction of these states, communities, people, and families. The science has made it very clear: you can not develop gas without causing serious health crises to surrounding communities and degrading the water, air, and land. No promises of jobs or economic vitality offset the subsequent harm.

“Many Democratic presidential candidates continue to cite ‘the environment’ and ‘climate change’ as part of their most important policy positions. Several of the leading candidates are senators whose voice and vote against these dirty projects could make a tremendous difference. At the debates this week, we urge them to discuss and clearly oppose this maddening new plan and commit to climate change solutions that will put an end to petrochemical buildouts like this.

“Without an urgent, if not instant, real and comprehensive Green New Deal, under-the-radar plans to sacrifice large parts of our country for petrochemical production will continue. Each candidate must commit to moving our country 100% off of fossil fuels and 100% on to clean, renewable energies. Anything less than a national fracking ban and a plan to stop other dangerous fossil-fuel related projects, will deepen our climate crisis and wreak havoc on public health.”

Dustin White of Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition also responds:

“To seriously tackle the issue of climate change, we must identify all the root sources. It isn’t enough just to look at how we generate electricity. We must also stop the expansion of petrochemicals and plastics manufacturing that is already occurring in places like the Gulf Coast and new proposed projects like the over 500 square mile petrochemical mega-complex, the Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub, proposed for the Ohio River Valley of Appalachia.

“These projects not only create more economic disparity but long term human health risks to those who live in these areas while exacerbating climate change globally.  We must end these fossil fuel sacrifice zones in order to give current and future generations clean air and water along with a world free of plastic pollution and climate chaos.”